The Impact of Immigration on Hispanic-Americans

As American migrant workers took to the fields in the first harvest season after the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (the sweeping new federal law to control illegal immigration), Herminio Muñoz, a sixty-five-year-old Mexican-American from Progreso, Texas, told the Dallas Times Herald: "We think there is going to be a lot more work for us this year because of the law. In the past many of the farmers paid less because they could get all the workers they wanted. We have to believe the law is good."

Given that Hispanic-Americans have in recent years been portrayed as favoring more immigration, not less, was the opinion expressed by Mr. Muñoz an anomaly, or perhaps only the opinion of a small segment of the citizen work force? Or was it in fact more representative of Hispanic-American attitudes than is generally believed? If so, are there other misconceptions about Hispanic-Americans and the immigration issue, and what accounts for them?

The fact of the matter is that nearly every poll ever conducted of Hispanic public opinion (as opposed to the attitudes of Hispanic leaders) has found that Hispanics in-the United States favor controls on immigration. Whether one consults the 1983 poll conducted by V. Lance Tarrance and Peter D. Hart (considered to be "Republican" and "Democratic" pollsters, respectively), or the Spanish International Network exit...

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